Episode 1: Hilda Vivas

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Episode 1: Hilda Vivas
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This episode is a part of the NASA
Student Opportunities podcast series.

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Show Notes

Special Guest: Hilda Vivas, NASA intern

(0:00) Intro

(0:23) Podcast overview

(1:05) NASA Undergraduate Student Research Project application deadline is Feb. 28, 2007.

(1:35) Application deadline for low-frequency electromagnetic waves scholarship competition   → in Washington, D.C., area is Feb. 28, 2007.

(2:09) Application deadline for Minorities in Science and Engineering 10-week summer internships   → at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is March 1, 2007.

(2:55) Interview with Hilda Vivas. University of Michigan graduate Hilda Vivas discusses her experience as a NASA summer intern.
       Space Grant
       NASA Research and Development Opportunities for Students
       Engines of the Future (including J-2X)

(7:16) End

Send your comments or questions to: educationpodcast@nasa.gov

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Deana Nunley: This is NASA Student Opportunities -- a podcast connecting high school and college students with learning opportunities inside America's space agency.

Episode 1. Feb. 14, 2007. I'm Deana Nunley.

Welcome to this inaugural episode.

NASA offers fellowships, internships and cooperative education opportunities throughout the year, and through this podcast, we hope to make it easier for you to wade through the many options you might want to consider.

Each week, we'll tell you about upcoming opportunities and keep you up-to-date on approaching application deadlines.

And we'll talk with participants -- both students and NASA employees -- to hear first-hand about their experience with such projects as NASA Academy, the Graduate Student Research Project and many others.

This week, we'll hear from a NASA intern who worked on an engine project that supports America's journey back to the moon and on to Mars. But first, a few opportunities you may want to pursue.

NASA's Undergraduate Student Research Project offers U.S. undergraduates mentored research experiences at NASA centers. Applications are now available for a 15-week fall session. Applicants must be rising juniors or seniors whose academic major or demonstrated course work concentration is in engineering, mathematics, computer science, or physical or life sciences. The application deadline for the fall session is Feb. 28, 2007.

NASA is accepting applications from high school seniors, and undergraduate and graduate college students in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area who are interested in conducting exemplary research projects focusing on very low-frequency electromagnetic waves -- up to 10 kilohertz. Scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 will be awarded to students who demonstrate above-average academic performance and leadership qualities. The application deadline is Feb. 28, 2007.

Minorities in Science and Engineering provides 10-week summer internships at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for students attending Oakwood College, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Alabama A&M University. This internship is designed for undergraduate students majoring in science, engineering, mathematics, technology or business administration. The application deadline is March 1, 2007.

For links to more information about these learning opportunities, go to www.nasa.gov/podcast, click on the NASA Student Opportunities podcast, and check out the show notes for this week's episode.


Hilda Vivas recently earned her master's degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan and just started a new job as a space systems engineer. Originally from Puerto Rico, Hilda attended Western Michigan University where she earned a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering. She received funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium to participate in the NASA Marshall Space Grant Research Internship Project last summer.

Hilda Vivas: It's been my dream since forever to come to work for NASA and this summer I had the chance to actually do it and it's just been great. Working with my supervisor and my team, it's been amazing I learned so much and they are the best people that I've met. So I'm really excited about that and I really wish to come back.

Deana: Is there a lot of hands-on involvement?

Hilda: Yes, I mean since the first minute that I met my supervisor, I got to his office and he sat me down and he said, "OK, this is what we are doing right now, this is what you're going to be doing". I know it's a little more information than I would ever wanted on the first hour, but at the same time it was like a feeling of welcoming, and he was like, really nice to me since the first moment. And after he introduced me to basically all the team, everybody has been great, great. And like if I have any questions with my project or my research, they are there to help me even if they are really busy or whatever.

Deana: And what kept you busy?

Hilda: I've been working with the J-2X engine, basically cost analysis, affordability analysis. So I've been doing a little bit of technical research, but at the same time it's mostly an overview of basically how much the engine is going to cost and if it's going to be feasible for the program. It's very exciting because just working with the engine that will power the crew launch vehicle and the cargo launch vehicle, the upper stages, it's just very exciting, very motivational I guess.

Deana: Do you prefer working cost analysis or technical engineering?

Hilda: I can do both actually. I've been working with my supervisor who's the project manager of the engine program, which I learned a lot more about project managing and I really like that area. My plan right now as of now, is just to start working in the technical side so I can understand the needs and know how to present that information, and then move to the management side. So I can basically manage projects, but at the same time knowing like what are the demands on the technical side. So yeah, that's my plan.

Deana: Did you enjoy math and science in high school?

Hilda: Yes, I've always been good I guess at math and science and it's always been my passion. So I knew that I wanted to be an engineer, or scientist, since early stages. But working here has just made me realize that yes, I've been right; this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Deana: Would you encourage other students to pursue learning opportunities with NASA?

Hilda: Oh yeah, definitely. I mean it's something any student should do at least once before they basically graduate so they can know like what is to be on the government side and working for NASA and working for such an important project.

Deana: If you’re interested in getting involved with NASA -- maybe as an intern or a co-op student -- go to nasa-dot-gov slash podcast, click on the NASA Student Opportunities podcast, and you can find links to a lot of learning opportunities in our show notes.


We'd like to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments about NASA learning opportunities, send an e-mail to: educationpodcast@nasa.gov

Thanks for joining us today.

NASA Student Opportunities is a podcast production of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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